PCB willing to shift India series to a neutral venue in worst-case scenario

November 14th, 2008 - 2:39 pm ICT by ANI  

Karachi, Nov 14 (ANI): Amid signals emerging from India that it might not send its cricket team to Pakistan to play a series early next year due to security reasons, the PCB has said that it was willing to host the series at a neutral offshore venue.

The series, including ODIs, Tests and a Twenty20 game, is scheduled for January 4 to February 19.

A PCB official said that the Board was eagerly waiting for the home series, and in the worst-case scenario, it might also agree to shift it to another venue like Abu Dhabi Abu Dhabi if India decided against sending their team to Pakistan

Saleem Altaf, PCBs chief operating officer, said that the series could be shifted to neutral venues like Abu Dhabi if India decided against sending their team to Pakistan for the January 4-February 19 series because of security concerns.

In a worst-case scenario, if India has its reservations (to tour Pakistan), we can consider playing at a neutral venue, The News quoted Saleem Altaf, PCBs chief operating officer, as saying.

He added: Of course our first priority will be that foreign teams start playing top level cricket in Pakistan. However, we dont rule out playing at the neutral venue because we want to generate funds and dont want to become an isolated cricketing nation.

The ICC has kept the Indian tour to Pakistan as a benchmark for deciding on the relocation of the Champions Trophy because of the security situation in the country, Altaf said and added that security arrangements for Indias tour were already underway in Pakistan. The printing of match tickets is also set to start. Today, the PCB also received an email from the ICC President David Morgan asking to make arrangements for his visa as he is willing to watch the first Test, he added.

Indias scheduled visit came under a cloud earlier this week when the Indian government blocked its junior hockey teams tour of Pakistan, citing security apprehensions.

Meanwhile, cricket organisers in Abu Dhabi have offered to host the Pakistan-India series free of cost. Dilawar Mani, the president of Abu Dhabi Cricket Club (ADCC), said the Emirates would be more than willing to host the India-Pakistan series if they were asked.

Of course, Pakistan and India is a no brainer. We would always do it if we are asked because we support cricket and Pakistan and India holds a special place here in many ways. People here are passionate about cricket and they would love to see Pakistan playing India, Mani was quoted as saying on Thursday. (ANI)

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